To Accompany the July 14, 2015 edition of Tidbits
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
Only those who
will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life
that is waiting for us.
If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
George S. Patton
Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude
you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly
on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau
The Iran deal is the worst agreement in US
Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, July 3, 2015 ---
Cop killings in
Venezuela reach 120 so far in 2015 ---
Graders Can’t Get a Coke at School, But Can Get an IUD ---
15-year-olds to get state-subsidized sex-change operations ---
But the good news is that they aren't allowed to drink alcohol.
Drought leads to
mass cutting of trees in Los Angeles ---
Anyone can now
register to vote (sometimes fraudulently) on Election Day in New Hampshire.
vetoed a bill banning the use of cash welfare benefits on alcohol, lottery
tickets, firearms and several other items. She plans to sign a different bill
banning the use of electronic benefit transfer cards at piercing or tattoo
parlors, cigar and smoke shops and marijuana dispensaries.
Drink, smoke pot, and get tattoos while your kids go hungry.
Now Drive America’s Fertility Trends, And They’re Having Fewer Kids ---
Neil Shah, http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/07/10/unmarried-women-now-drive-americas-fertility-trends-and-theyre-having-fewer-kids/
plants key to Perth water security: Constant drought risk has pushed
the dry city of Western Australia to become a world leader in water management
Royce Kurmelovs, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/07/desalination-plants-key-perth-water-security-150705074410141.html
93,626,000 Americans 16 or older did not participate in the nation’s labor force
in June, as the labor force participation rate dropped to 62.6 percent, a
38-year low, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In June, according to
BLS, the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population, consisting of all people
16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, hit 250,663,000.
Ali Meyer --- http://cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/record-93626000-americans-not-labor-force-participation-rate-declines-626
We'd rather be obese on benefits than thin and
Janice and Amber Manzur
John Hill, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11347454/Mother-and-daughter-weigh-a-total-of-43-stone-and-get-34k-a-year-handouts-but-refuse-to-diet.html
Moocher Hall of Fame --- https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/the-moocher-hall-of-fame/
What do Mississippi and New Hampshire have in common Regarding voting fraud in primary elections?
"Leviathan: A Stanford historian thinks war is the engine that drives civilization. Is he right?" by Ian Morris, Reason Magazine, June 27, 2015 ---
Is war good for anything? In the long run, the Stanford historian Ian Morris argues, it's good for almost everything. In War! What Is It Good For?, Morris makes the case that war has played an essential role in mankind's development and in the growth of human well-being. The book endorses not just strong government but imperialism; as applied to recent history, this translates into strong support for the historic role of the British Empire and the current global policies of the United States.
Morris isn't one to shy away from big, sweeping theses. In Why the West Rules—For Now (2010), he took on the much-studied subject of why modernity first appeared in northwestern Europe and has been dominated by that part of the world and its offshoots. Its sequel, The Measure of Civilization (2013), proposed a metric for assessing how "developed" any particular historical culture was.
His new book's argument is rich and subtle. That is not to say it is convincing. It has a number of crucial ambiguities and at least one central thesis that is very controversial and, like all good theses in history, subject to empirical disproof. The story also has an important missing element, one that makes sense of things the author otherwise has difficulty fitting into his argument. Adding that missing element—the way that resource constraints limited human options until innovation took off in the 17th century—gives us a different, more accurate picture.
The book's thesis is Hobbesian, as Morris explicitly lays out. Human beings, he writes, are naturally territorial and aggressive; Lord of the Flies is a better portrait of our nature than Coming of Age in Samoa. Consequently, the default setting for human society is one with little or no large-scale, organized conflict but lots of persistent small-scale violence, such as fights, brawls, and raids.
The result is a very high rate of violent death, amounting to as much as 20 percent of all deaths in hunter-gatherer societies. (This claim is disputed, as Morris notes, but he is correct that the evidence supports this reading of the Stone Age past.) In this, human beings are like one of our two closest biological relatives (chimpanzees) but unlike the other (bonobos). The amount of chronic interpersonal violence means that complex social institutions and trade do not develop—not among chimps, and not among humans for most of our history as a species.
Unlike chimpanzees, Morris continues, human beings have the ability to evolve socially as well as biologically. Our ancestors invented agriculture in those parts of the world (the "lucky latitudes") whose flora and fauna were particularly suited to domestication. This led to a rise in human numbers, to more division of labor, and to greater pressure on resources. The initial response to that pressure was migration into empty lands. Meanwhile, high levels of violent death remained the norm. Eventually, Morris argues, population pressure changed the incentives and led to a major innovation: war.
The obvious immediate result of war is a sharp rise in the number of violent deaths as the scale of killing increases. But war also creates bandit groups that control the means of violence and use it to organize people. The incentives facing these predatory groups initially encourage them to plunder and kill others, but soon it becomes clear that the longer-term incentive is to conquer them (often brutally) and incorporate them into an expanded social unit. Once this is done, the roving bandits become stationary bandits: a polity's ruling class.
This Leviathan then reduces the level of chronic violence in society, Morris writes, by punishing violent conduct and getting the predatory groups to change their behavior, so they become cultured gentlemen rather than coarse warriors. All of this leads to a rise in population and a marked growth in wealth and trade and the division of labor. The consequences include technological development, the emergence of cities, and higher levels of comfort and consumption. Although the number of people killed in the wars that create the Leviathan is high, the rates of death per capita decline, because of both the change in people's behavior and the resulting growth in numbers.
Morris thinks that war is essential for this good result and that it is the primary motor, with the other social phenomena consequences. The Leviathans created by war (such as the Roman Empire, which stands as a proxy for Leviathan states in general in the early part of the book) tend to expand their territory until they reach a point (determined by the interplay of geography, technology, and military organization) where the costs of expansion are greater than the benefits. In the modern world, this is the entire planet, and so we see the development of a global hegemon, initially the British Empire and more recently the United States, that while not directly controlling the entire world provides a legal order for it as a "globocop."
Clearly this is a direct challenge to many cherished libertarian ideals and ideas. If Morris' argument is true, order is not spontaneous but something that can exist at a tolerable level only after powerful states have been created by war; empires are in general a force for good; and human flourishing, innovation, and prosperity depend on a strong, active government. In terms of current policy disputes, it means that the United States should enhance its global role rather than pulling back.
Yet the argument's clarity lays bare several ambiguities that in turn reveal its weaknesses. The major problem that Morris faces is explaining what was going on from roughly the 2nd century A.D. through the 15th century. Up until that point, his long-term story was one of wars leading to ever larger and more settled empires, with a corresponding growth in human development and decline in interpersonal violence. (There was in fact a major intermission of several hundred years at the end of the Bronze Age, but he glosses over this.) In the Middle Ages, this long-term trend stalled. There were still empires and powerful states, but these regularly collapsed completely or, more often, saw a decline in strong central power and the growth of a decentralized, usually feudal social order. The new long-term trend was for the size of effective political units to shrink.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on war --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#War
"The US's response to Iran's cheating is a very bad omen," The
Washington Post via Business Insider, July 6, 2015 ---
If it is reached in the coming days, a nuclear deal with Iran will be, at best, an unsatisfying and risky compromise. Iran's emergence as a threshold nuclear power, with the ability to produce a weapon quickly, will not be prevented; it will be postponed, by 10 to 15 years.
In exchange, Tehran will reap hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief it can use to revive its economy and fund the wars it is waging around the Middle East.
Whether this flawed deal is sustainable will depend on a complex set of verification arrangements and provisions for restoring sanctions in the event of cheating.
The schemes may or may not work; the history of the comparable nuclear accord with North Korea in the 1990s is not encouraging. The United States and its allies will have to be aggressive in countering the inevitable Iranian attempts to test the accord and willing to insist on consequences even if it means straining relations with friendly governments or imposing costs on Western companies.
Why Economics is Not a Science: When Bad Politics = Smart Economics
"Does Jeb Bush Understand Economics?"
No says Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, July 10, 2015 ---
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush set off a firestorm this week by appearing to say in a newspaper interview that Americans should work longer hours. Democrats pounced, even as the Bush campaign said his comments were taken out of context.
But everyone is missing the real story. Whether Bush’s comment was a criticism of American workers or a lament about a weakened job market, his words demonstrated such a lack of knowledge of economics that it’s virtually impossible to understand what was the context of his words.
Bush’s full statement was: “My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4% growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families.”
Continued in article
Yes Says Ben Casselman
Nate Silver's Blog 5:38 Blog, July 9, 2015
Jeb Bush Was Right: Americans Need To Work Longer Hours
. . .
But rather than focusing just on one controversial phrase, it’s worth looking at Bush’s whole statement. Bush is highlighting one of the most basic formulas in macroeconomics: In its most simplified form, a country’s economic output is the product of its number of workers times how many hours they work times how much they can produce in an hour. If you want the economy to grow faster, you have to get at least one of those three factors — workers, hours or productivity — to accelerate.
Right now, as Bush says, the U.S. is struggling in all three areas. Start with the number of workers: Labor force participation — the share of the adult population that’s working or actively looking for work — has been falling for 15 years and is at its lowest level since 1977.
The drop in labor force participation is being driven in significant part by a demographic trend that’s beyond the control of any president: The retirement of the baby-boom generation. But as I’ve discussed at greater length in the past, aging boomers can’t explain the entire decline. Even among Americans in their prime working years, participation is declining, for reasons that remain hotly debated by economists.
On hours — the issue that got Bush in trouble — the story is a bit more complicated. The length of the average workweek dropped sharply during the recession but has since rebounded. Over the longer term, working hours have fallen since the 1970s but have held fairly steady over the past 15 years at a bit more than 34 hours a week. (Pre-2006 data is available only for nonmanagers.) Those numbers are based on data from employers; workers themselves report longer hours, but surveys show the same steady trend.
Continued in article
If Bush is correct then one naive conclusion is that the USA should open its borders to tens of millions of more hard working immigrants so that the USA can be more productive without having our existing workers work more hours.
But there's a huge difference between between long-term versus short term labor economics in the era of robotics. Over the long term there's little doubt that technology (think ever more "intelligent" robots) will be causing longer unemployment lines at nearly all skill levels. Having more workers in the USA will eventually translate into longer unemployment lines due to capital (e.g., for robots) replacing labor. And robots do not need such benefits as health insurance for themselves and their families, retirement contributions, free college tuition, subsidized child care, subsidized union dues, etc. And robots don't go on strike for higher pay and sue for billions fraudulently for back aches and mental distress.
A related problem with economics is that what seems to be true in some
instances turns up false in other instances
"Get a life," The Economist, September 24, 2015 ---
. . .
Some research shows that higher pay does not, on net, lead workers to do more. Rather, they may work less. A famous study by Colin Camerer and colleagues, which looked at taxi drivers, reached a controversial conclusion. The authors suggested that taxi drivers had a daily income "target", and that:
When wages are high, drivers will reach their target more quickly and quit early; on low-wage days they will drive longer hours to reach the target.
Continued in article
The History of Economics & Economic Theory Explained with Comics, Starting
with Adam Smith ---
This is not a free download ---
. . .
The book covers two (plus) centuries of economic history. It starts with the Physiocrats, Adam Smith and theoretical development of capitalism, and then steams ahead into the 19th century, covering the Industrial Revolution, the rise of big business and big finance. Next comes the action packed 20th century: the Great Depression, the New Deal, the threat from Communism during the Cold War, the tax reforms of the Reagan era, and eventually the crash of 2008 and Occupy Wall Street. Along the way, Goodwin and the illustrator Dan E. Burr demystify the economic theories of figures like Ricardo, Marx, Malthus, Keynes, Friedman and Hayek — all in a substantive but approachable way.
As with most treatments of modern economics, the book starts with Adam Smith. To get a feel for Goodwin’s approach, you can dive into the first chapter of Economix, which grapples with Smith’s theories about the free market, division of labor and the Invisible Hand. Economix can be purchased online here.
An Introduction to Great Economists — Adam Smith, the Physiocrats & More — Presented in a Free Online Course
60-Second Adventures in Economics: An Animated Intro to The Invisible Hand and Other Economic Ideas
Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey (Free Course)
I ordered a used copy of this book from Amazon. This book is a most interesting way to learn the history of economics succinctly.
One surprise is that the book has a relatively good index. Another surprise is that the book has some small sections on my special interest --- derivative financial instruments and hedging, although these play a miniscule role in the comic book.
A few interesting quotations are shown below:
Page 17and Page 19
Enter Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683), who became the finance minister of France in 1665. He thought money was wealth, end of story. ... French thinking on economics change. Maybe wealth wasn't a stockpile of silver like Colbert thought. Maybe wealth circulated, like blood circultes throght a body. Laws, regulations, tariffs, subsidies, and so on would get in the way of that natural circulation.
Marx's logic applied to the Ricardo model and we don't live in that model. (Neither does Greece)
Page 22and Page 23
Bakers didn't work because some Bread Planner told them to, or because they were saints who wanted people to be well fed. They worked because it was good for them ... So in Smith's economy, competition kept everyone honest. Every baker --- saint or greedhead alike --- was led, "as if by an invisible hand," to sell bread at fair price, high enough to pay for the baker costs and work, low enough that others didn't steal the customers.
Way back in the 1920s, the Austrian economists Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) and Freederick Hayek (1899-1992) saw economic planning become political dictatorship in country after country. They saw that when people lose their economic liberty, they lose their political liberty. ... Haye especially was a formidable thinker; instead of assuming the market worked, which economists had be doing since Ricardo, Hayek looked to how it worked --- how interaction of small units (people) creates a complex intelligence (the market), which responds to shortages, changes in taste, or new technologies far better than any human planner can ("invisible brain" might be a better term than "invisible hand.") . . . People who try to replace this brain with their own systems will fail, and in the process of failing, they'll do a lot of dmagbe.
Like Hayek, Friedman stressed that concentrated power is threat to freedom. But he didn't seem to see that power cn concentrate in more than one form.
(Market failure) refers to how --- even textbook-perfect markets--- can give bad results. for instance, with externalities which are essentially side effects of economic transactions. Bad externalities are everywhere, because the people mking decisions aren't the ones getting hurt. (in mathematical models these externalities are sometimes called non-convexities).
By the 1980s, the IMF was full of neoliberals. Strure adjustment came down to adopting neoliberalism. Structural adjustment was hard to refuse; The World Bank, private lenders, business, the US Treasury, even aid donors would all steer cler of a country that the IMF was unsound (say what?) Still, people hated structural adjustment, and the IMF knew it. So part of the program was protected democracy in which the economic program was protected from democracy.
Continued in a nice summary of Economix
If you want to learn more about controversial Keynesian economics you might start with this book.
"The Long Decline of Trust in Government, and Why That Can Be Patriotic,"
by Lynn Vavreck, The New York Times, July 2, 2015 ---
How often do you trust the government in Washington to do what is right? That question has been put to thousands of Americans over the decades by multiple survey research firms.
It’s easy to look at Washington and conclude that nothing ever gets done. Trust in government has steadily deteriorated over the past several decades and continues to do so. Questioning the aims and efforts of government is a foundation of American citizenship. It’s how the nation was born. The colonists didn’t trust King George III, and they carefully laid out their reasons for breaking away from his rule in the Declaration of Independence.
But some of the recent decline may have less to do with how the government has disappointed people and more to do with an increasing knowledge of how the government works.
Continued in article
An Experiment in Love: Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Six Pillars of
Nonviolent Resistance and the Ancient Greek Notion of 'Agape' ---
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change --- http://www.thekingcenter.org/
"A Harvard professor explains how we can revitalize the American Dream," by Natalie Runkle, Business Insider, July 4, 2015 --- http://www.aei.org/publication/our-kids-will-the-next-generation-of-americans-enjoy-the-american-dream/#ixzz3f0mcv1IC
At AEI’s recent event, “The American dream in crisis,” Robert Putnam, Charles Murray, and William Julius Wilson discussed problems brought to light in Putnam’s new book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.” The book expounds upon several alarming trends – the widening income gap, growing class segregation, and the disappearance of working-class communities – and investigates their implications for America’s children.
Putnam’s presentation highlighted several startling class-based disparities in children’s upbringings, cited historical trends in income inequality and other potentially-related variables, and suggested ways to revitalize the American dream.
Bob Jensen's threads on the American Dream ---
The American Dream ---
The China Dream
The Rise of China's Billionaire Tiger Women ---
"Are We Evaluating U.S. Presidential Hopefuls All Wrong?" by Claudio
Fernández-Aráoz, Harvard Business Review Blog, July 1, 2015 ---
Why should Americans who can afford a $100,000 Tesla get a free ride on USA roads and bridges?
Why America should start making drivers pay per mile ---
From Nate Silver's 5:38 Blog on July 1, 2015
1.89 kills per cat per month
It’s crucial to remember that house cats are descended from a line of apex predators and that the urge to hunt never fully left them. New research in the “Ecology and Evolution” journal suggests that outdoor cat owners vastly underestimate the efficient killing machines in their care. In a study of British cats and their owners, the mean number of things a cat kills every month was 1.89. The cats’ owners, meanwhile, had no idea how many things their own cats were killing. Keep them inside, people. The birds don’t stand a chance otherwise. [Ecology and Evolution via Gizmodo]
From Nate Silver's 5:38 Blog on June 30, 2015
Rare-earth metals — the weird ones on the middle chunk of the periodic table that sound like sensible Targaryen names and make your phone work — exploded as a commodity investment a few years ago due to perceived scarcity. In retrospect, the high prices for the commodities and the rush of companies trying to exploit that scarcity were symptoms of a bubble. China controls 70 percent of the supply of rare-earth elements. [Bloomberg]
Russia is challenging Nordic countries along their borders ---
From the Editorial Board of The Washington Post
Cuba is making Obama's diplomacy push look bad ---
Here are the funniest emails from the State Department's massive Hillary
Clinton email archive ---
Saddest Hillary Clinton Email Revealed in New Data Dump ---
"Hillary’s Email Story Unravels: Now that we know she edited the
emails before turning them over, the entire record is suspect," by Kimberly
A. Strassel, The Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2015 ---
. . .
Not true and not true. The State Department has now admitted that it is aware of at least 15 work-related emails that Mrs. Clinton fully or partially withheld. We know this only because congressional Republicans, as part of their Benghazi probe, required longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal to turn over his correspondence with her. It revealed work-related emails that had not been disclosed.
These don’t appear to be random oversights, but rather emails that Mrs. Clinton would likely have had an interest in keeping from the public. Most appear to be instances of her telling Mr. Blumenthal about State Department business, even though he was a private citizen and was advising a business seeking contracts from the Libyan government. Others appear to contain discussions that might undermine Mrs. Clinton’s or the administration’s public position on the Libyan conflict.
We also know that the State Department has now upgraded at least 25 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails to “classified” status. State is suggesting this is no big deal, noting that it is “routine” to upgrade material during the public-disclosure process. But that’s beside the point. This isn’t about after-the-fact disclosure. It’s about security at the time—whether Mrs. Clinton was sending and storing sensitive government information on a hackable private email system. Turns out, she was. For the record, it is a federal crime to “knowingly” house classified information at an “unauthorized location.”
Continued in article
MSM: Yeah, Hillary Seems to Have Lied A Lot in That CNN Interview ---
The Puerto Rico crisis, explained
The flipside of this mindless lending is that Puerto Rico failed to take real advantage of the financial windfall (interest revenue tax exemptions in the USA) it provided. In theory, loads of cheap debt could have been used to finance incredibly useful public works projects and other social services that laid the foundations for enduring prosperity. But it didn't happen. Instead, Puerto Rico seems to have mostly taken advantage of the opportunity to run a somewhat more generous welfare state than the island could really afford over the long term. Thus when the easy money went away, the country was left with a huge pile of debts rather than a huge pile of enduringly useful infrastructure.
Matthew Yglesias --- http://www.vox.com/2015/7/1/8872553/puerto-rico-crisis
From the CPA Newsletter on June 29, 2015
Puerto Rico can't pay its debt, governor says
Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the commonwealth won't be able to pay approximately $72 billion of debt. Government officials were working with creditors of the electric authority to avert a default on a $416 million payment due Wednesday. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (6/28
US: We're not going to give Puerto Rico a bailout ---
Signs of more defaults to come. Chicago? Illinois? California? Major problems seem to be debt piled up for overly generous, probably fraudulent, public pensions? In the long-run there are more serious problems such as the drought in California and other parts of the west like Nevada.
NYT: When governments cannot pay and probably never will fully pay
off their contracted promises to pay back what they borrowed
(including Greece, Puerto Rico, Turkey, China, Brazil, Italy, etc.)
"Loads of Debt: A Global Ailment With Few
Cures," by Peter Eavs, The New York Times, June 29, 2015 ---
There are some problems that not even $10 trillion can solve.
That gargantuan sum of money is what central banks around the world have spent in recent years as they have tried to stimulate their economies and fight financial crises. The tidal wave of cheap money has played a huge role in generating growth in many countries, cutting unemployment and preventing panic.
But it has not been able to do away with days like Monday, when fear again coursed through global financial markets. The main causes of the steep declines in stock and bond markets were announcements out of Greece and Puerto Rico.
And in China, the precipitous declines in its stock market were also a sobering reminder that stubborn problems lurked in the global economy. Continue reading the main story Related Coverage
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece acknowledged cheers by some Parliament members in Athens on Saturday. Greek Referendum Plan by Alexis Tsipras Tests His Power and ConvictionJUNE 29, 2015 Greeks argued Monday with a bank worker, left, hoping to get their pensions as bank closings caused chaos nationwide. Greeks Line Up for Money and Stock Up on Goods as Cash Rationing StartsJUNE 29, 2015 With Loan Deadline Looming, Europe Offers Greece a Last-Minute DealJUNE 29, 2015 Greece’s Debt Crisis Sends Stocks Falling Around the GlobeJUNE 29, 2015
Stifling debt loads, for instance, continue to weigh on governments around the world. Greece’s government has repeatedly called for relief from some of its debt obligations, and Puerto Rico’s governor said on Sunday that its debt was “not payable.” Both borrowers are extreme cases, but high borrowing, either by corporations or governments, is also bogging down the globally significant economies of Brazil, Turkey, Italy and China. And economists say that central banks and their whirring printing presses can do only so much to alleviate the burden.
Continued in article
When individuals declare bankruptcy they appeal to the courts to forgive part or all of what they owe in order to stay out of debtor prison unless they will go to prison for other reasons such as fraud, extortion, perjury, or some other reason other than just not being able to pay off their creditors. In the USA bankrupt individuals emerge from Chapter 11 with debts forgiven and have a fresh start to once again start borrowing again. Among the millions of lenders in the USA there are usually some lenders who will once again loan money to people who emerged from Chapter 11.
For governments the concept of "bankruptcy" is much more complicated. We do not even think about putting "bankrupt" nations in debtor prison. But if a bankrupt nation like Greece does not pay its debts it faces far fewer alternatives for borrowing in the future because there are so few lenders willing to loan money to entire nations. Generally such nations must resort to politics and crime such as the way Venezuela and North Korea are heavily engaged in global crimes such as forging currencies, selling narcotics, selling illicit weapons, human trafficking, and sending boatloads of starving people adrift at sea.
Greece is a sad example of how fiscal mismanagement leads to a spendthrift nation's bankruptcy and how a nation that does not want to resort to deep crime may cause severe hardship on its people who ultimately pay the price for a government's corruption and mismanagement and greed.
The US shouldn’t worry about Greece because if
Germany doesn’t save it, Russia will
This is a pile of bull poop. If Trump really believes this he's dumber than I thought, and I think he's super dumb. Russia cannot afford to save Russia let alone come up with the $250 billion needed to save Greece. Putin is playing politics with Greece but not economics.
"The Greek Crisis Is About More Than Money," by Robert D. Kaplan,
The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2015 ---
Geopolitics can be more important than economics. Just look at Greece. On purely economic grounds, Greece should never have been admitted to the European Union in 1981 and might have been ejected from the eurozone months ago.
But what many European policy makers know—even if few articulate it—is that Europe will be increasingly vulnerable to Russian aggression if its links to Greece are substantially loosened. Greece is the only part of the Balkans accessible on several seaboards to the Mediterranean, and thus is a crucial gateway to and from the West.
Given the bellicosity of Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is useful to contemplate what would have happened had Stalin not ceded Greece to the West in return for the rest of the Balkans at the start of the Cold War. With Greece inside the Communist bloc, Italy would have been permanently endangered, to say nothing of the whole eastern Mediterranean and the Levant. Indeed, American bases in Greece were critical to the policy of containment.
But Greece, in terms of its politics and culture, is not fully anchored in the West. Greece is more properly viewed as the child of Byzantine and Ottoman despotism than of Periclean Athens. The mid-19th century revolutions in Europe were often of bourgeois origins with political liberties as their goal. Yet the Greek independence movement was more of an ethnic movement with a religious basis. Greece, by virtue of its Eastern Orthodox Christianity, has an emotional and spiritual bond with Russia. This helps explain why most Greeks sided with Russia in favor of the Serbs and against Europe during the 1999 Kosovo War, even if the Greek government’s position was more equivocal.
Greece never had modern political parties to the degree of Central and Western Europe. Greek parties have been largely paternalistic, coffeehouse fiefs organized around charismatic individuals, featuring a reactionary-style right-wing movement and a radical-style left-wing movement. Andreas Papandreou, Greece’s prime minister for much of the 1980s and ’90s, was never a modern European socialist, as many in the West in the 1980s believed. Rather, as I know from living in Athens during that decade, he is better understood as a Latin-American style populist in the tradition of Juan Perón.
Papandreou is one forerunner to the current Greek disaster, a cynical politician, who, rather than use aid from Brussels to create a more streamlined polity after Greece joined the EU, enlarged the bureaucracy and created an impossible-to-sustain welfare state. Greece today is a badly institutionalized country where too few pay taxes as they should, further burdened by a bloated bureaucracy. Most Greek businesses are family owned, and meritocracy is in short supply. The Greek political culture is not wholly Western, so why should the economy be?
The newspaper with the largest circulation and influence in Greece during the Papandreou era was the left-wing Ethnos (the Nation), which had suspected links to the Soviet intelligence services. The Soviets found it easier to operate in Greece than perhaps in any other NATO country. Greece during the Cold War was never comfortable inside NATO, and instead yearned for a dreamy, nebulous neutrality. NATO and the EU kept Greece free and prosperous, unlike the other states of the Balkans, but Greeks, having never experienced life inside the Warsaw Pact, were never grateful for being kept out of it.
All this is prologue to the rise of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his hard-left Syriza party. Because modern conservatism and modern socialism only arrived in Greece toward the end of the 20th century, they were quickly swept aside for the hard left and fascist right (the Golden Dawn party) once the economy imploded in recent years. Given the Kremlin’s long-standing relationships in Greece, it is conceivable that the Russians now have better ties with—and intelligence on—Syriza and its various factions than the Europeans do.
Russia may be helping to inflame Syriza’s internal divisions in the hope that Greece’s ruling party cannot make the difficult concessions necessary to stay in the eurozone. If Greece does leave the eurozone, the economic aftershocks to the domestic economy could reduce it to a semi-failed state that, along with the dismemberment and weakening of Ukraine, will seriously weaken Europe’s geopolitical position vis-à-vis Russia.
Continued in article
"The economic consequences of Syriza," The Economist, July 6,
AFTER the party in Syntagma Square celebrating the landslide victory for the "no" campaign in Sunday's referendum comes the hangover. They went wild "because we are tired of everything, from all the lies, from paying for the rich, and from years of austerity, especially for young", as one partying Athenian told us. To be fair, with youth unemployment rates of over 50%, many have had little to celebrate for a long time. Young Greeks support the aggressive stance taken towards the country's lenders by Syriza and its leader, the Greek prime minister Alexis Tspiras, whose position in domestic politics has been strengthened as a result of the referendum.
But two days after the close of the polls the fact remains that Greece's real economy is in a mess. Capital controls imposed after Mr Tsipras called the referendum on June 26th have kept banks closed. Ordinary Greeks have been limited to cash withdrawals from ATMs of just €60 ($67) a day (which is now in effect down to €50 as smaller notes have disappeared from circulation). Many cash machines in Athens have run completely out of money.
Firms have also been hit particularly hard. Foreign bank transfers have been banned by the Greek government, with few exceptions. Greek credit is no longer accepted outside the country. That has hit firms that rely on foreign credit to import goods, as well as the Greek tourists who found themselves stranded when their credit cards stopped working. Supplies of food and some medicines are running short (see picture); a black market for cancer drugs has even emerged. As we reported on Sunday:
Greece relies almost entirely on foreign imports for its pharmaceutical supplies. But since capital control imposed last Sunday brought the country’s banking system to a sudden halt, some suppliers have stopped delivering key medication because they cannot get paid. Foreign bank transfers have been banned by the Greek government (with some complicated exceptions which in no way suffice) and Greek credit is no longer accepted outside the country (as stranded Greek tourists found this week when their credit cards stopped working). As things stand, she has another week’s worth of insulin in stock for diabetics but will then have to start turning her patients away. “Do you know what that means?” she asks, trying to keep a proud face, “Do you know what insulin does?”
Unsurprisingly, as a result, Greek economic growth—which began to falter shortly after Syriza came to power in January—has collapsed. Consumption has slumped by 70% since capital controls were imposed, according to the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce, a business group. Individuals and firms are hoarding cash at the same time that essential goods are becoming unavailable—a toxic mix for any economy. The decision taken yesterday by the European Central Bank—to keep in place the cap on emergency lending to Greek banks, and to increase the discount applied on Greek bonds accepted as collateral—will tighten the short-run financial crunch.
Continued in article
Greeks Vote No to EU Bailout Terms
From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on July 6, 2015
In a resounding “no” to austerity, Greeks have called Europe’s bluff by refusing to endorse its latest bailout terms, the WSJ reports. Greeks overwhelmingly voted against their international creditors’ conditions for further aid, in a result that could push the country closer to bankruptcy and an exit from the euro. More than 61% of Greeks voted no in Sunday’s referendum on austerity measures and other overhauls that European and International Monetary Fund officials had demanded in recent talks.
The stability of the eurozone could now hinge on whether Greece and its creditors can find a way out of their dangerous impasse. Hard-line eurozone policy makers, led by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, believe that expelling Greece for its recalcitrance would strengthen the eurozone and put pressure on other economically underperforming countries—including Italy and France—to reform, officials in Berlin say.
. . .
The outcome of the vote in Greece pushes the eurozone into unknown territory. And whatever the outcome, it is unlikely to happen quickly. Eurozone governments are wary of delivering a quick sweetheart deal to the victorious left-wing government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Such a deal would risk creating incentives for insurgent movements elsewhere in the bloc to follow suit.
From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on June 29, 2015
The debt crisis in Greece approached a fateful climax as its lenders were ordered to stay closed for six days starting Monday and its central bank moved to impose capital controls to prevent money from flooding out of the country, the WSJ reports. The moves put Greece closer than it ever has been to an exit from the euro and pushes the common currency itself into uncharted waters ---
The decision came after the European Central Bank—meeting in an emergency session Sunday—opted not to expand a lifeline of emergency funds that has been sustaining Greek banks while nervous depositors pulled their money out. In response, European stocks slumped Monday and the euro fell. Greece’s stock market will be closed for as long as banks are not open to the public, the country’s Capital Markets Commission said. On Athens’s rainy streets late Sunday, many ATMs already had been emptied.
The ball now seems to be in the court of the Greek electorate that purportedly is badly divided in terms of whether to accept an austerity deal from the EU or to enter into uncharted chaos of withdrawing from the Eurozone. There are no winners for the short-term future, and there's probably not a lot to be gained from attributing blame as to how Greece got to this cliff edge.
Not enough voters in the USA are concerned that over $100 trillion in
unfunded entitlements (read that Medicare, Medicaid, and possibly free
college) and uncontrollable fraud may lead us to a similar cliff. It was sad
last night on CBS Sixty Minutes to learn from IRS officials that it may
be impossible to stop the hemorrhage of tens of billions of dollars from ID
theft phony tax returns. That fraud may alone may soon grow to hundreds of
billions of dollars, much of which is going to Russia, China, etc. See the Tax
Refund Scam at
Another crisis in Greece is that Greece, along with Italy, is burdened with tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants from African shores. The EU has a new policy for relocating many of these arrivals to other parts of Europe, but the new policy has no mechanism of enforcement unless other European nations put out the welcome mat --- dream on. Will the USA put out the welcome mat for undocumented immigrants in Italy and Greece? Many of them are probably already close to the Rio Grande, but thousands are still begging for help in Greece and Italy. The world seems to be at a social and economic brink at a time when global leadership is at an all-time low amidst old tribal and religious strife all over the world. The answer in Russia and North Korea and places unknown is to build a bigger WMD arsenal. Remember the Kingston Trio lyric: "Someone will set the spark off and we will all be blown away." ---
The Merry Minuet (slightly altered)
They're rioting in Africa.
The Russians build humungous tanks and kill more Ukrains. There's tornados in the Midwest and
Texas California needs rains.
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls. Kenyans hate Somolians. Nigerians hate Bokos.
Americans hate ISIS. Greeks hate the Deutsch. And I don't like anybody very moich!
But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud for man's been endowed with a mushroom shaped cloud.
And we know for certain that some lovely day someone will set the spark off and we will all be blown away.
They're raining rockets on Israel. We need nukes in Iran. What nature doesn't do to us will be done by our fellow man.
"How World War III became possible A
nuclear conflict with Russia is likelier than you think," by Max Fisher,
Vox, June 29, 2015 ---
The current resettlement policy for
undocumented immigrants in the EU is doomed to fail ---
But the EU cannot look to the lousy USA record for a solution. If undocumented immigrants are not returned to where they embarked they will either form poverty ghettos within developed nations or be given permission to stay with guarantees of health care, education, jobs, and other benefits. Progressives seem to opt for opening the borders to everybody.
The question that nobody wants to ask is whether North America, Australia-NZ, and the EU can absorb over a billion desperate people from around the world? If not, what are the limits and how can these limits be humanely enforced?
The only developed nations that truly discourage undocumented immigration have an iron curtain. Does anybody sneak into Russia or Singapore? North Koreans are sneaking into China and South Korea but not in great numbers.
Hillary Was Too Expensive, So Her Daughter Spoke on Campus at University
of Missouri-Kansas City for Only $65,000
"A college balks at Hillary Clinton’s fee, books Chelsea for $65,000 instead," by Philip Rucker and Rosalind S. Helderman, The Washington Post, June 30, 2015 ---
For the price of a single Hillary Clinton speech, you could have Bernie
Sanders speak speak on campuses 361 times ---
Years ago I did an eight-hour gig on this campus in 1995, but the honorarium for me was $0 --- just one of those humbling experiences in life. My audience of faculty and students was very cordial, and I learned a lot from them.
"Hypermedia Case Development," ," by Bob Jensen, An Eight-Hour Presentation at the Bloch School of Business, University of Missouri at Kansas City, December 20, 1995.
And yes the School of Business is named after Henry W. Block (i.e., of H&R
Block fame and money) ---
The New Wave of Green
There are more marijuana shops in Oregon than Starbucks and McDonald's ---
Pot isn't all bad. It's lower in calories and cholesterol than anything at Starbucks and McDonald's. Ask Willie!
I Will Never Smoke Week With Willie Again ---
The Supreme Court just handed Obama a significant loss on one of his
biggest environmental initiatives ---
A divided Supreme Court on Monday dealt a significant blow to the Obama administration's environmental agenda, invalidating a rule that would limit the release of mercury and other pollutants from power plants.
In a 5-4 ruling, the Court found that the Environmental Protection Agency did not appropriately consider the costs to utility companies when handing down the rule under the Clean Air Act.
"We hold that EPA interpreted unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the court's majority opinion.
Scalia was joined in his majority opinion by the four other conservative justices, including the swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy. The high court's four liberals dissented.
When is marriage a bad deal for taxes?
There are many types of taxes and many complicated things to think about when relating taxes to marriage. Generally, marriage is a better deal when one spouse makes a lot more taxable income than the other spouse. It can be less so in divorce for the higher income spouse.
There are many reasons millennials put off marriage much longer (than their parents) while living together. In some instances for tax-savvy millennial couples one of the reasons is that both parties earn approximately the same incomes.
The Supreme Court has spread Iowa marriage law
nationwide. That means more same-sex couples will tie the knot and learn about
the sometimes surprising tax results of matrimony. In general, if only one
member of the couple has income, it’s a good tax deal, but not so much for
two-earner couples. The weird complexity of the tax law means there are lots of
Tax Roundup, 6/29/15: Congratulations, newlyweds, here’s your tax bill! And windy subsidies, IRS stonewalling, more. ---
In same-sex marriages under a rainbow flag, always remember that sometimes in divorce "he/she gets the gold mine and he/she gets the shaft" ---
It's sad that there will be increases in fraud that accompany the rainbow marriage ruling. Of course we've known this for years when some men/women marry women/men more for money than for love. The same fraud risks now apply to gay marriages.
So the Obama IRS wasn’t just persecuting right-leaning nonprofits — it was out to prosecute them, too. And with the help of the Obama Department of Justice and FBI.
Via Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, the watchdog group Judicial Watch just got evidence of the plot. A “DOJ Recap” on an Oct. 8, 2010 meeting tells how officials from the three agencies discussed “several possible theories to bring criminal charges under FEC law” against groups “posing” as tax-exempt nonprofits.
As part of the project, the IRS handed the FBI 21 computer disks with 1.23 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups — nearly every 501(c)(4). This, though federal law generally bans the IRS from sharing such data.
The evidence shows “that the Obama IRS scandal is also an Obama DOJ and FBI scandal,” noted Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The FBI and Justice Department worked with Lois Lerner and the IRS to concoct some reason to put President Obama’s opponents in jail before his re-election. And this abuse resulted in the FBI’s illegally obtaining confidential taxpayer information.”
Coninued in article
Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
Milton Friedman takes a shareholder approach to social responsibility. This approach views shareholders as the economic engine of the organization and the only group to which the firm must be socially responsible. As such, the goal of the firm is to maximize profits and return a portion of those profits to shareholders as a reward for the risk they took in investing in the firm. He advocates that the shareholders can then decide for themselves what social initiatives to take part in rather than having their appointed executive, whom they appointed for business reasons, decide for them.
Friedman argued that a company should have no "social responsibility" to the public or society because its only concern is to increase profits for itself and for its shareholders and that the shareholders in their private capacity are the ones with the social responsibility. He wrote about this concept in his book Capitalism and Freedom. In it he states that when companies concern themselves with the community rather than focusing on profits, it leads to totalitarianism.
In the book, Friedman writes: "There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud."
The idea of the stockholder theory, some[who?] argue, is inconsistent with the idea of corporate social responsibility at the cost of the stakeholder. For example, a company donating services or goods to help those hurt in a natural disaster, in some ways, may be considered not taking action in the best interest of the shareholder. Instead Friedman argues that shareholders should themselves decide how much and to whom they would like to make donations. Some[who?] may argue that goods provided to society in a time of need build further allegiance to a corporation and in theory, meet the stockholder theory's requirement to look in the best interest of the stockholder.
The Friedman doctrine is controversial. In left-wing social activist Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine, she criticizes the theory, saying most citizens become impoverished while corporate elites gain enormous wealth.
From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on July 2, 2015
Stanford-trained executive tries to turn around Venezuela energy giant
Eulogio del Pino takes on a tough task: returning the focus of Petróleos de Venezuela SA to oil. For more than a decade, PDVSA was as much a political entity as a business one. It managed social-welfare programs ranging from food distribution to building housing. The pivot to social activism, funded by high oil prices, helped boost the government’s popularity, but it left the company in bad shape.
What Milton Friedman possibly failed to anticipate was when government and its laws place shareholders and profits low, possibly at the bottom, in terms of goal priorities. Doing so in essence takes a company out of the global financial capital markets and leaves it to the fate of social leaders of a nation.
Is there evidence in history where a socialist-controlled company can be
The odds are greatest when this company has a monopoly such as being an exclusive source of a popular rare-earth commodity. Oil is most certainly not a rare-earth commodity.
From the CFO Journal's Morning Ledger on July 2, 2015
Fannie, Freddie CEOs to get $3.4 million raises
The chief executives of government-controlled mortgage-finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will get multimillion-dollar paydays thanks to a massive raise approved by the companies’ regulator.
Bob Jensen's threads on
outrageous executive compensation ---
College or Not
By Chad Grills
Price on Amazon: $6.95 or Free on Kindle,
It's necessary when advising students to remind them that the "investment" in college is more than tuition. In fact tuition in public universities may be a very small part of the cost. Firstly, there's the opportunity loss of what a student could be doing and making in lieu of going to college --- such as getting experience in a trade while being paid for it at the same time. Secondly there's room and board cost which is not free even when living at "home" while earning a full-time college diploma.
College is more "expensive" for some students who have responsibilities such as caring for their children.
And the benefits of college, especially while living on campus, are much more than getting a better job. There are also sorts of potential life changers that come from a college education experience.
In nations like Germany where college education is free it's a real privilege to even go to college. Over 70% of potential German students are not even allowed into college. Many are instead directed toward learning a skilled trade where the training is paid for heavily by working on the job as an apprentice.
In the USA there's a movement to make college education (at least the tuition part) free to anybody who wants to earn a diploma. My worry, however, is that college quality will accordingly, like HMO healthcare, be greatly diluted to serve the masses --- especially those students with minimal aptitude and ability and motivation to really work for a college diploma.
For many of them a college diploma may end up being wasted of paper on the wall. A close friend of mine has a son and his spouse who both have worthless diplomas on a wall that cost them tens of thousands of dollars in terms of student loans that they are still paying off with money earned in their jobs that do not require any college education. They are struggling in poverty to raise four children as well.
"China’s Stock Plunge Is Scarier Than Greece: There are four
basic signs of a bubble, and the Chinese stock market is on the extreme end of
all four," by Ruchir Sharma, The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2015
. . .
When China’s economy slowed following the 2008 global financial crisis, Beijing pumped massive amounts of liquidity into the system. First that money went into the property market, later into the various debt-related products sold through the shadow banking system. But when property slumped and the shadow banks started to pose systemic risks, China had only one major market left to flood—stocks.
Funneling some of China’s $20 trillion in savings into stocks was a last-ditch effort to revive flagging economic growth by giving the country’s debt-laden companies a new source of financing. The aim was to trigger a slow and steady bull run, but the somnolent stock market exploded into one of the biggest bubbles in history.
There are four basic signs of a bubble: prices disconnected from underlying economic fundamentals, high levels of debt for stock purchases, overtrading by retail investors, and exorbitant valuations. The Chinese stock market is at the extreme end on all four metrics, which is rare.
The sharp equity rally took place despite sputtering economic growth and shrinking profits. By official count, margin debt on the Chinese stock market has tripled since June 2014. As a share of tradable stocks, margin debt is now nearly 9%, the highest in any market in history. At the leading brokerages, 80% of margin finance has been going to retail investors, many of them new and inexperienced.
Today China’s 90 million retail investors outnumber the 88 million members of its Communist Party. Two thirds of new investors lack a high school diploma. In rural villages, farmers have set up mini stock exchanges, and some say they spend more time trading than working in the fields.
Continued in article
Bloomberg: The Chinese Stock Meltdown That Makes the Greece Saga
Look Trivial ---
With all the headlines glaring at us readers often fail to realize that Greece is a relatively small nation with only 11 million people. That's less than half the population of Shanghai. China has a populace of nearly 1.5 billion people. Naturally almost every economic disaster in China will dwarf such disasters in other nations.
The world's largest megacity already has more people than Canada, Argentina,
or Australia ---
50-State Fiscal Condition Ranking ---
With new spending commitments for Medicaid and growing long-term obligations for pensions and health care benefits, states must be ever vigilant to consider both the short- and long-term consequences of policy decisions. Understanding how each state is performing in regard to a variety of fiscal indicators can help state policymakers as they make these decisions.
A closer analysis of the individual metrics behind the ranking shows how each state’s fiscal condition should be assessed. Notably, nearly all states have unfunded pension liabilities that are large relative to state personal income, indicating that all states need to take a closer look at their unfunded pensions, which represent a significant portion of each state’s economy. Another financial crisis could mean serious trouble for many states that are otherwise fiscally stable.
State-Based Accounting 101: Ranking
Fiscal Condition States must confront pension costs. ---
. . .
First, let's look at the states with the best and worst fiscal conditions. At the top of the list are: Alaska (1), North Dakota (2), South Dakota (3), Nebraska (4), and Florida (5). Norcross explains, "these states are considered fiscally healthy relative to other states because they have significant amounts of cash on hand and relatively low short-term debt obligations." The bottom of the list includes: Illinois (50), New Jersey (49), Massachusetts (48), Connecticut (47), and New York (46). These states face large debt obligations and have very little cash on hand to pay short-term bills.
Continued in article
Finding and Using Health Statistics --- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/usestats/index.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics and databases ---
'The Unaffordable Care Act: Premiums are spiking around the country.
Obama is in denial," The Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2015 ---
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make insurance, well, more affordable. But now hard results are starting to emerge: premium surges that often average 10% to 20% and spikes that sometimes run as high as 50% or 60% or more from coast to coast. Welcome to the new abnormal of ObamaCare.
This summer insurers must submit rates to state regulators for approval on the ObamaCare exchanges in 2016—and even liberals are shocked at the double-digit requests, or at least the honest liberals are. Under ObamaCare, year-over-year premium increases above 10% must also be justified to the Health and Human Services Department, and its data base lists about 650 such cases so far.
In a study across 45 states, the research outfit Health Pocket reports that mid-level Exclusive Provider Organization plans are 20% more expensive in 2016 on average. HMOs are 19% more expensive, and for all plan types the average is 14%.
President Obama dropped by Nashville last week to claim Tennessee as a state where “the law has worked better than we expected” and “actually ended up costing less than people expected,” so let’s test the reality of those claims. As a baseline, in 2015 premium increases for Tennessee plans ranged from 7.5% to 19.1%.
For 2016 BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee—one of the state’s two major insurers—is requesting a 36.3% increase. One product line from Community Health Alliance Mutual is rising 32.8%, while another from Time Insurance Co. hits 46.9%. Offerings from Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare range from 11% to 18%. If this means ObamaCare is working better than the President expected, then what, exactly, was he expecting?
Continued in article
The History of Lies and Deceptions --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm#Lies
Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
"The New York Times notices that
ObamaCare is causing insurance rates to soar," by Robert Laurie, Canada
Free Press, July 6, 2015 ---
There have been plenty of stories about the ways in which ObamaCare is driving up healthcare costs. All across the country, we’ve seen double digit insurance rate hikes and soaring premiums. It’s nothing new, and conservatives have been warning that this would be the case since long before the unpopular law was rammed down America’s throat.
However, acknowledgement of ObamaCare’s failure usually comes from either right-leaning news sources, or insurance industry watchdogs. We don’t often get it from the far-left paper of record, The New York Times:
Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.
Huh. That’s weird. I thought ObamaCare was supposed to lower rates across the board. Didn’t the President promise that the average household would see their premiums decline by something on the order of $2500.00? Certainly the New York Times must be shocked to discover that these claims were bald-faced lies, and that conservatives were right all along.
Continued in article
Obama's Whoppers on the ACA ---
"How the Affordable Care Act Is
Reducing Competition Five big insurers seem set to become three, as Aetna buys
Humana and Anthem eyes Cigna. Thanks, ObamaCare," by Scott Gottlieb, The
Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2015 ---
The urge to merge is sweeping managed health care. Aetna announced Friday a $37 billion deal to acquire Humana. Anthem and Cigna are in merger talks and could be next. The national for-profit insurers are on an anxious mission to consolidate. These combinations will sharply reduce competition and consumer choice, as five big insurers shrink, probably, to three.
This trend is a direct consequence of ObamaCare, reflecting the naïveté of its architects and the fulfillment of their myopic vision. For Aetna, the deal is aimed at expanding its footprint in Medicare Advantage, a business that has become more financially attractive now that ObamaCare caps profits in the individual and group insurance markets.
. . .
But now almost every co-op is financially underwater, on the hook for federal loans that amount to more than 100% of the total value of their capital and surplus. Some—like Arizona’s Meritus Mutual Health Partners—are nearing 1,000%, according to rating agency A.M. Best.
All but five co-ops had negative cash flow heading into the end of last year, according to Standard & Poor’s, and nine had medical-loss ratios above 100%, including Iowa’s CoOportunity Health, which has declared bankruptcy. During the last half of 2014 the Health and Human Services Department had to bail out six co-ops with $356 million in emergency funding.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
Bob Jensen's universal health care messaging --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Health.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on
The Atlantic: Health: Family --- http://www.theatlantic.com/health/category/family/
Tidbits Archives ---
Jensen's Pictures and Stories
Summary of Major Accounting Scandals --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accounting_scandals
Bob Jensen's threads on such scandals:
Bob Jensen's threads on audit firm litigation and negligence ---
Current and past editions of my
newsletter called Fraud Updates ---
Enron --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm
Rotten to the Core --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm
American History of Fraud --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudAmericanHistory.htm
Bob Jensen's fraud
Bob Jensen's threads on
auditor professionalism and independence are at
Bob Jensen's threads on
corporate governance are at
Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---
· With a Rejoinder from the 2010 Senior Editor of The Accounting Review (TAR), Steven J. Kachelmeier
· With Replies in Appendix 4 to Professor Kachemeier by Professors Jagdish Gangolly and Paul Williams
· With Added Conjectures in Appendix 1 as to Why the Profession of Accountancy Ignores TAR
· With Suggestions in Appendix 2 for Incorporating Accounting Research into Undergraduate Accounting Courses
Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---
By Bob Jensen
wrong in accounting/accountics research? ---
The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most
AN ANALYSIS OF THE EVOLUTION OF RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS BY THE ACCOUNTING REVIEW:
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory
Tom Lehrer on Mathematical Models and Statistics
Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox)
that probably will never be solved
Bob Jensen's economic crisis messaging http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm
Bob Jensen's threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm
Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/